goal-setting, homework, Working with teens

Negotiating homework with your teen: Part 4 – How to still negotiate when it is hard

How to be a shrewd negotiator with your teen.

When agreement about homework is not easily reached, sit back and listen more closely.

Deeply understand what your teen is saying and doing before you open your mouth to speak. When/if they become unhappy with the deal you are negotiating at any point… stop talking and take a deep, slow breath. Never, ever argue with them! You will always lose even if you seem to win. You will lose your temper, your composure, the argument, the homework agreement you were trying to make with your child, etc..

If they have difficulties with anything you are suggesting, take as much time as necessary, at a time you are both able to listen to each other, to listen closely to your child. When they know you deeply understand their position and concerns, they will be able to to listen to your thoughts and concerns. Then you will both be able to find mutually satisfactory solutions together.

Important grounds for successful negotiation.

1. Negotiate when you are both ready. Find a mutually agreed upon time to listen closely. Make it a time when you are both not feel rushed, or tired, or upset, then you will both be more likely to just listen without defending or attacking. Even if things become a little heated, you will both still be able to think clearer and stay reasonably polite.

2. Have a firm ‘bottom line’. For example if you want them to improve their reading skills as quickly as possible, you might decide that 30 minutes reading a night five nights a week is a good beginning. I seldom shift from my bottom line, because I believe that it is what is required for my student to achieve well. However, stay flexible still, and if after discussion 30 minutes seems too much for them, you can agree to 20 minutes with the proviso that next negotiation time you want it to raise to 30 minutes. Next negotiation time can be any time you consider they are enjoying reading more, and reading more easily.

3 Ask more from them than you expect to get. Then be willing to negotiate down from there. I also make sure that they somehow get what they really want. When you listen closely to your child, you will learn more about them, their worries, and their goals. Continue to take into account their concerns as you negotiate.

4. Keep negotiating until the homework deal between you and your child is extremely clear for both of you.

The conversation might go like this:-
“I’d like to help you become a better reader, would you like this?”
Child responds and you listen carefully.
If they respond with ‘yes’ you can continue negotiations using  questions about how long/how often/what books/when and where we’ll read. Remember to check in with them and see if they really agree after each question.
For example:
“What about we read together after school most days for 20 minutes. Is that okay with you?”
“I’d like to read together five times a week. Do you think we can?”
“Would you like me to take turns reading (share-read) with you and then we can pick a book that is harder but more fun. What do you think?”
“Would you like to read at the table or on the sofa?”

If they respond with ‘no’ at any p0int, listen closely to what they are worried about and then together find solutions that suit you both. A successful negotiation is when you are both happy with the agreement reached.

Some of their concerns might be that:

You will want to read boring books with them. Assure them they have to agree with the choice of book and that they are to pick one that is fun for them.
You will lose your patience and be critical of them. Promise them that you will do your best to be a good coach. Tell them you are learning how to coach and might make mistakes. Come to deals as to how you will both handle difficult situations so they feel safe and in control too.
It is hard it is for them to read for an extended length of time. You can negotiate a shorter time, or offer to share read with them.
They might not want to miss play time or television. Take their concerns seriously, and find solutions that you are both happy with.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on

Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.



2 thoughts on “Negotiating homework with your teen: Part 4 – How to still negotiate when it is hard”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s